If you're tired of the cookie cutter boxes that make up most of the homes for sale and you want your next home to be new and interesting, why not look for a home built in a unique historical style? Alternatively, you might take some architectural cues from these older homes and "update" your existing home to an older time - after all, everything old is new again! A good renovations contractor can make this happen for you.

The colonial styles are unique to North America, having been created by combining old European styles with new materials and features that better suit the different North American climate. To learn more about the different colonial styles and find a home that's right for you, read on.

Spanish Colonial

Spanish Colonial is a hugely popular architectural style in the warmer, Spanish-influenced areas of North America, including South America, Mexico, and the Southern United States. Based in part on the Baroque style imported from Spain, this style is likely to make use of tiles or stucco as a building material rather than wood, as well as arched doorways and wrought iron ornamentation.

Dutch Colonial

This architectural style is found almost exclusively in the northeastern United States, particularly in the Hudson River Valley, where the Dutch exerted the most influence historically. You're unlikely to find any Western properties in this style unless it's an imitation. Dutch Colonial houses are generally a single storey with a loft nestled underneath its steeply pitched roof. Most commonly they are made from stone and may feature gables and a covered porch.

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French Colonial

Numerous houses built in the French Colonial style can still be found in the French-influenced parts of North America, most notably along the Mississippi River. These homes are designed to suit warmer climates, so it's not the best choice of style for a Northern real estate development. With double-pitched roofs and wrap-around covered porches, these homes typically featured windows with louvers and shutters rather than glass. They are made primarily of wood.

Georgian Colonial

Georgian Colonial stylings were imported almost wholesale from the Georgian architecture in England and are found primarily in New England. These homes are square two-storey boxes built of stone with wooden trim and ornamented doors. They are often very large, more suited today to being a museum or apartment building than a private home.

German Colonial

Though the German settlers did hold some influence in Ontario, you're more likely to find German Colonial houses in Pennsylvania rather than as part of an Alaska real estate show. These homes are German-inspired brick structures with fairly steeply pitched roofs. The second floor is usually wooden and they tend to be small - the original homes were only one room. The exterior may feature small, steeply pitched window overhangs and mullioned windows. Often these types of homes were built into hillsides, giving them the nickname 'bank homes.'

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